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Woman Beaten and Burned Alive for Witchcraft in Nepal

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By Setrige Crawford, Christian Post Reporter
February 20, 2012|10:10 am

A woman has been burned alive on Friday in central Nepal after being accused of witchcraft and using evil magical powers.

Dhegani Mahato, 40, was attacked and set on fire by her own family members and others in her Nepalese community for allegedly practicing witchcraft. According to CNN, a shaman had accused the mother of two of casting a spell to make one of her relatives sick.

The shaman also blamed Mahato for the death of a boy who drowned a year ago, according to the Digital Journal.

Police Officer Hira Mani Baral said that the attack came Friday in Bagauda in the Chitwan district, 50 miles from the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu. Police arrested 10 people, including two shamans, five women and an 8-year-old boy for the burning.

According to Baral, all suspects have confessed to the burning and murder of Mahato.

"Those arrested have confessed to their crime and will be charged with murder," Baral said.

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Police also say that there was a standoff with the locals who did not want Mahato's body to be removed for an autopsy.

Mahato was beaten with sticks and rocks before doused with kerosene by the mob of ten people. They then threw hay on her and set her on fire. The attack came Friday morning when Mahato was cleaning a cowshed. The brutal murder was witnessed by Mahato's 9-year-old daughter.

Neighbors in Mahato's community claimed they found out about the attack after it was too late to save Mahato. Nepal's Prime Minister Baburam Bhattari pleaded with people not to heed to the instructions of shamans and faith healers.

The Nepal government announced that would offer 1 million Nepalese rupees ($14,000) as compensation to Mahato's two children.

Belief in witchcraft is widespread in Nepal, according to the international non-governmental organization, CARE in Nepal. Whenever something bad happens in a community, illiterate, single, or elderly women are often singled out and accused of being witches.

They aren't usually killed, but they suffer beatings, psychological abuse and torture. Their families shun them and force them and their children to live in the streets, making them susceptible to rape and other violent crimes.

 

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